Update: I am adding the raw data file, which features details on what information bits each local business directory researched allows to be added. You can download it from here.
In the past two parts of my study dedicated to local citation building I looked at important niche citation sources, and at the prominence factor for determining which business directories might be the most trustworthy. In this part I will look into another factor that is taken into account by Google when determining the value of a local citation - the completeness, or plenitude of the incoming business data. The text in the “Generating Structured Information” patent, which is the basis of the clustering system related to the local business data Google generates and represents in local search, says the following:
…Likewise, facts within sets of facts that provide more information than other sets of facts can be assigned a greater weight.
This means that if business directory X allows you to input more additional information (other than the business name, address, phone number, and category), it might be more valuable and a more trustworthy citation source than business directory Y, which allows you to input just basic business data.
I looked into 25 of the most prominent local business directories (according to the second part of the local citation building study) and checked what information each one of them allows for a business to add. The enhanced data “facts” that I looked for primarily were: description, website, email, images, video, hours, specialties, year established, payment types, ability to add links to social profiles, claimability, languages spoken. If the business directory offered anything over these, that was marked as “additional” information. For each “fact” a directory allowed to be added, it was given 1 point. In case this fact was available only to paid customers, the business directory was given 0.5 points. If the listing was claimable only via phone, the directory was also assigned 0.5 points.
Manta.com is the obvious winner. The website has an algorithm that ranks businesses in their internal search results based on the completeness of the business profile. The scale is from 0% to 100%, but the maximum that can be achieved via a free listing is 95% completeness (the “add keywords” option is unavailable). The site also has the biggest number of “additional information” information points available (other than the ones expressly stated above), together with Thumbtack.com.
Local.com and local.BOTW.org also allow for a big number of enhanced business information to be added to their local listings. However, in many cases this option is available only for paid customers, which slightly decreases their overall scores. If you have budget for advertising on local business directories, I’d suggest you consider paid listings on these two. (Note: I am not affiliated in any way with any of these websites.)
Localeze.com and Citysquares.com are very low in the rankings although they also allow for a significant amount of enhanced information to be added. Unfortunately, both websites provide this option only for paying businesses, which significantly decreases their scores. In their free packages they both offer only very basic business data to be added - business name, address, phone number, and one category. They offer very reasonably priced paid listings and they might be a good fit for a business that would like to gain more from their local citation building campaign. (Note: I am not affiliated in any way with any of these websites.)
Remark: As part of our citation building service we take the value of each citation source into account. One of the factors we use is the data points each directory allows for as described in this study.
*Note: Our Citation Building Guide features more information, tips, and tactics on how to do local citation building.